EU Considers Revoking Georgia's Visa-Free Travel Over Foreign Agents Law

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 23, 2024 20:30 PMNews
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Georgian flag in the mountains
Georgian flag in the mountains. Source: Max Kukurudziak, Unsplash

Four European Union countries have proposed sanctions against Georgia if it enacts a controversial foreign agents law. Estonia, Czechia, the Netherlands, and Sweden suggest canceling Georgia's visa-free regime and imposing additional restrictions, according to the Financial Times.

The proposal includes freezing EU funds and targeted sanctions. These countries plan to discuss the initiative at the upcoming EU foreign ministers' meeting. For the sanctions to be approved, all 27 EU member states must consent. Interestingly, Hungary supports the Georgian government and has even suggested that all EU countries adopt similar measures.

Controversial Foreign Agents Law

Georgia's attempt to pass a foreign agents law mirrors similar legislation in Russia that restricts media, bloggers, and other information platforms. Despite widespread protests in Tbilisi and other cities, the Georgian parliament passed the bill.

The law's passage sparked large-scale demonstrations, reflecting widespread public opposition. Protesters argue that the law undermines freedom of expression and aligns Georgia more closely with Russian authoritarian practices.

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili vetoed the law, but the parliament has the power to override her decision and enact the legislation. The law’s critics fear it could stifle independent journalism and civil society activities, hindering democratic development in Georgia.

The EU's potential sanctions highlight the international community's concern over Georgia's democratic trajectory. The proposed revocation of visa-free travel would significantly impact Georgian citizens, who currently enjoy easy access to the Schengen Area. This move could also strain Georgia's aspirations for closer ties with Europe.

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